New York, NY (WOAY) – In recognition of Healthy Aging Month officially starting today, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is notifying the public of 10 ways to promote healthy aging and optimal brain health.
AFA offers the following ten steps for healthy aging:
- Eat Well-Adopt a low-fat diet high on fruits and veggies, like strawberries, blueberries, and broccoli. Take daily vitamins. Limit red meats, fried and processed foods, salt, and sugar intake. Generally, “heart healthy” foods are also “brain healthy.”
- Stay Active-Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and can also help improve mood and overall wellbeing. For example, brisk walking benefits brain health, aerobics can boost your heart rate, and weight training builds strength and flexibility.
- Learn New Things-Challenge your brain by starting a new hobby like playing tennis, learning to speak a foreign language, trying a cooking class, or doing something you have not done before. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand stimulates the brain by forcing it to think outside of its routine.
- Get Enough Sleep-Getting consistent sleep every night is vital; at least seven to nine hours is ideal. Having a good sleep environment is also helpful. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious physical effects and negatively affect memory and thinking.
- Mind Your Meds-Medication can affect everyone differently, especially as you age. Talk to your doctor or local pharmacist when getting a new medication or something you have not taken in a while (whether over the counter or prescription).
- Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol-Smoking can increase the risk of other serious illnesses. At the same time, too much alcohol can impair judgment and cause accidents, including falls, broken bones, and car crashes.
- Stay Connected-Social interaction and maintaining an active social life are very important for brain health, cognitive stimulation, and mood. Invite friends and family for a meal, board games, or hanging out. Engaging in your community and participating in group activities is also beneficial.
- Know Your Blood Pressure-Blood pressure can impact your cognitive functioning. Visit your physician regularly to check your blood pressure and ensure it is normal.
- See Your Doctor-Maintain checkups. Health screenings are crucial to managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, which can impact brain health. Speak with your physician about any concerns or questions you have about your health.
- Get a Memory Screening-Our brains need regular checkups, just as other parts of our bodies do. Memory screenings are quick, noninvasive exams for our brains. AFA offers free virtual memory screenings every weekday—visit www.alzfdn.org or call AFA at 866-232-8484 to learn more about getting a free virtual memory screening. You can also talk to your doctor about getting a screening for your annual wellness exam.
Individuals who would like to learn more about healthy aging, brain health, or memory screenings can contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Helpline by phone (866-232-8484), web chat (www.alzfdn.org), or text message (646-586-5283) seven days a week, or visit www.alzfdn.org.